Sunday, 13 October 2013

We're ALL under attack - so let's strike together in November

Yesterday, I attended a Steering Committee meeting of the NSSN*, the National Shop Stewards Network, at the RMT's National HQ. The Steering Committee brings together representatives from trade unions right across the public and private sector to discuss how we can support each other's disputes. As you would expect, everyone there wished teachers well for the regional strike action on Thursday this week.

The news that NHS workers might not even be paid their 1% pay award next year was just one example that was given of the attacks that keep coming from this Government. Instead of fighting our battles separately, it  makes obvious sense to link up the different struggles through co-ordinated strike action.

It's certainly not only teachers who are starting to organise against the attacks we face. It was reported that Probation Officers from NAPO recently held a mass Lobby of Parliament and are balloting for action against the effects of privatisation. Postal workers are doing the same. The RMT reported that they are engaged in a series of disputes against various employers nationally.

The UCU have just announced  the result of their ballot on action over pay in higher education. 62% of votes were in favour of strike action and 77% for action short of strike action.

The timescale of the different disputes doesn't mean that everyone will be ready to co-ordinate action immediately - but some will be. If plans are made, as they should be, an even stronger co-ordinated action would certainly be possible in 2014.

Teachers are already taking regional action and are awaiting confirmation of a date for national strike action in November. It is vital that we build on the momentum from those strikes - and what looks like a very strong turnout in London and elsewhere on Thursday - by naming that strike day. If we do, then other unions like the FBU, PCS, UCU and CWU could well be in a position to take action alongside us.

* For more information from the NSSN, visit their website on:

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